A Traditional Elders’ Tribute – June 2011

In the 1990s, Thomas Banyacya, a Hopi Indian elder, issued a “call for native peoples in the West to come together to share their original spiritual instructions, teachings and prophecies.” Banyacya, whose life was devoted to a spiritual mission of saving the planet by spreading Hopi prophecy, died in 1999 at the age of 89.

According to a Hopi religious tradition, the Great Spirit Maasau’u, Guardian of the Earth, assigned them the duty of preserving the natural balance of the world and entrusted them with a series of prophecies warning of specific threats and providing guidance on how to avoid them. The prophecies remained a secret oral tradition until 1948, when Hopi religious leaders were alarmed by reports of the atomic bomb’s mushroom cloud, which they saw as the destructive ”gourd of ashes” foretold in the prophecies. Four messengers were appointed to reveal and interpret the prophecies to the outside world. Banyacya was their interpreter and spokesman.

In 1977, a group of traditional elders from indigenous nations around the world issued a “Basic Call to Consciousness,” papers which were presented to non-governmental organizations of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland giving the perspectives of indigenous people. Their position was as follows:

• Human beings are abusing Mother Earth, as well as each other.

• The natural world, along with the indigenous peoples’ ways of life, is being destroyed.

• These problems point to humankind’s spiritual poverty.

“Today, seemingly little has changed,” said Jose Lucero, a long time associate of Banyacya’s, from Santa Clara Pueblo. Lucero, a native agricultural advocate and educator, is a member of the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth. He is currently organizing “Recall to Basic Consciousness,” a gathering to celebrate traditional knowledge in honor of Thomas Banyacya’s request.

The event is to bring together traditional elders from across the country to share modern and ancient information in an attempt to strengthen “the spiritual significance” of all people, “thereby helping to insure a better future for Mother Earth and all of her children,” said Lucero. The gathering is by invitation only, and will take place in June in the Four Corners region. Lucero hopes to create an ongoing dialogue of indigenous caretakers. A global communiqué will be issued at the event’s conclusion.

To make this possible, Lucero is seeking financial support for the required food, lodging and travel of the elders. He is planning a fundraiser in Santa Fe in March, where a video will be shown, along with a discussion about traditional indigenous elders and their prophecies. For more information, Lucero may be contacted at 505.692.7337.